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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/30/17

The Huge Tax Heist

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From Robert Reich Blog

Donald Trump had better lay off Robert Mueller if he wants the GOP faithful not to attack him and try to pull him out of his political game.
Donald Trump had better lay off Robert Mueller if he wants the GOP faithful not to attack him and try to pull him out of his political game.
(Image by YouTube, Channel: Jordi Minguell Puig)
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You know the plot: The bank robbers set off a bomb down the street from the bank, and while everyone's distracted they get away with the loot.

In the reality TV show we're now suffering through, Donald Trump is the bomb.

The robbers are the American oligarchs who bankroll the Republican Party, and who are plotting the biggest heist in American history -- a massive tax cut estimated to be up to 5.8 t rillion dollars.

Around 80 percent of it will benefit the richest 1 percent, according to the Tax Policy Center.

Trump is busily distracting America with his explosive tweets and incendiary tantrums -- blasting Republican senators Jeff Flake and Bob Corker, NFL players who take the knee, Dreamers, refugees, immigrants, transgender people, the media, "rocket man," Hillary Clinton, Obama, NAFTA, Muslims.

The Trump bomb is hugely damaging -- unleashing hate, threatening democratic institutions, isolating America in the world.

But none of this seems to bother Republicans in Congress, except for a handful of Senators who won't be running again. That's because congressional Republicans are concentrating their efforts on pulling off the giant heist for their rich patrons.

They want to move quickly so no one notices -- passing the tax cut before Christmas, with no hearings and minimal debate.

If the plot succeeds, most Americans will be robbed in three ways.

First, they'll lose tax deductions they rely on -- such as the deduction on earnings they put into tax-deferred savings in 401k plans. Some 55 million Americans now rely on 401(k) plans to save for retirement.

They'll also lose the deduction for what they pay in state and local taxes. More than half of this deduction now goes to taxpayers with incomes of less than $200,000.

Republicans say the middle class will come out just fine because they'll get a larger standard deduction. Not true. The average American's tax bill will rise because the deductions they'll lose will total more than the higher standard deduction Republicans are proposing.

Second, most Americans will lose government services that will have to be eliminated in order to pay for the giant tax cut -- including, very likely, some Medicare and Medicaid.

About $1.5 billion in Medicare and Medicaid cuts were quietly included in the budget resolution Republicans just passed, in order to get their tax bill through the Senate with just 51 votes. (No one paid much attention because Trump was attacking grieving combat widows.)

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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